If it's crap ... We'll tell you
The Raid: Redemption is easily the best action film I have seen in years. It follows Rama (Iko Uwais), a new recruit to the SWAT, as him and his team raid a high rise apartment complex filled to the brim with unsavory characters in an attempt to capture an evil narcotics lord who rules over the complex. Naturally things don't go as planned (do they ever?) and the SWAT quickly find themselves in a fight for their lives as their mission quickly switches to escape and survive.
Now, The Raid: Redemption is an Indonesian film and thus is filmed with subtitles. Honestly, subtitles have never bothered me much and in this film it's really the action that speaks louder than the words. So don't worry if you don't enjoy reading subtitles in a film, it won't matter much if you miss a sentence here or there. It really would be a shame if people let their dislike of subtitles stop them from seeing/enjoying this truly fun flick.
The Raid's plot is pretty cool, but it's more of a means to an ends...in this case, the action. The film promises tons of high octane action, and boy does it not disappoint. There are no stunt men, no CGI, no blue-screens...the action is real (or, as real as "Hollywood" action can get). The actors are the ones doing the fighting, and they are so incredibly skilled at this that I must ponder if they trained for the roles, or if they cast martial artists in the lead roles.
It does take a little while to get to the first fight scene, but once the action explodes it never stops until right before the final scenes. The action in the film is of the fast-paced, blink-and-you'll miss it variety....so don't blink (Trust me, you'll be glad you didn't). It's very impressive, and a definite breath of fresh-air compared to the otherwise stale action films Hollywood continues to churn out.
The Raid's cast does a more than adaquate job in the film. The ones that stand out are Joe Taslim as Jaka, the head of the SWAT. He is a bad-ass, but is also a very nice guy that genuinely cares about his team, by the end of the film he had become one of my favorite characters. Ray Sahetapy plays Tama, the evil druglord that Jaka's SWAT is out to capture. For most of the film he mainly stays in one room, gives orders, and looks menacing. That's perfectly fine with me, he makes for quite an intimidating villain even though his climax is a bit disappointing. Doni Alamsyah plays Andi, Tama's second in command who hides a secret. He doesn't really become a main character until the end, but for most of the film he does a good job and his secret is certainly surprising (I think the "Redemption" in the title refers to his character, but I'm not sure). Pierre Gruno plays Lieutenant Wahyu, the person who ordered the raid and has some dubious reasons as to why. For most of the film he seems like a coward, but it is later revealed that he actually does know how to fight and makes a pretty good impression. Yayan Ruhian plays Mad Dog, Tama's muscle (He's like The Terminator if the Terminator knew martial arts). He makes for a disgusting and scary villain, and it is established early on that he is completely insane. His martial arts skills are jaw dropping, and the final fight between him, Rama, and Andi is one of my favorite fight scenes of all time. it goes on for at least fifteen minutes, and every time you think Andi and Rama have Mad Dog pinned he finds some way to wriggle out of it. It's the best action sequence in the film, and it's sure to stay with you for weeks afterwards. Last but definitely not least is Iko Uwais as the "Hero" of the film Rama. He is a new member of the SWAT and has his own reasons for joining the raid. From his first scene where he beats the crap out of a punching bag, you know that this guy's Pencak Silat skills (that's the name of the martial arts used in this film) are top notch. He does a pretty good acting job, and his action scenes (let's face it, 90% of the action scenes belong to him) are phenomenal and truly thrilling. It feels exhilarating to watch Rama take on hallways full of scumbag criminals with little else except for his fists. Iko Uwais makes a definite lasting impression in the role.
Now, onto my only complaints about the film. First off, the final scenes are somewhat of a letdown as the action cools off and slows down. Secondly, and my biggest complaint, is the title. Originally, this film was simply called The Raid, but was changed shortly before theatrical distribution to The Raid: Redemption in hopes that they could turn the film into a series. Personally, I just feel that The Raid fits the film better than The Raid: Redemption. These are very minor complaints that really shouldn't detract from the film at all. On a side note, I'm not really sure how I feel about the possibility of a sequel. I would probably see one, but at the same time this film is good enough to stand on its own and I fear that a sequel could harm the first film and it's reputation.
The Raid: Redemption is a hardcore action film that just about any guy or action lover should thoroughly enjoy (not to mention it's also TONS of fun). It is this generation's Die Hard (Yes, I went there). It's guaranteed to inspire just about anyone to go forth and kick ass.
5/5 STARS- BETTER THAN SEX